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UNB gets real for homophobia awareness

It’s time to get real, UNB.

In efforts to address the growing problem of homophobic bullying on social media, two students are introducing the “Get REAL” movement to UNB.

“Get REAL” is a movement aimed at educating people about the LGBTQ community in universities, high schools and middle schools all over Canada to raise awareness about homophobia and bullying.

“Language can hurt and it’s important to be true to yourself and kind to others,” said event co-organizer Lee Thomas.

The UNB group aims to put special focus on homophobia in sports.

“Right now we’re hoping to go in a similar direction as Western [University] has, with university athletes talking to younger students about how homophobia and bullying aren’t tolerated on their sports teams,” said Thomas.

Thomas and Lacey Purdy, the leader of the movement at UNB, came across the Get REAL website and were inspired to start the movement at UNB. One video about inclusiveness in sports stood out to them.

“The video was so honest, unedited and relatable; it was so different from what we’d seen up until that point. That type of message presentation was something we believed UNB deserved and needed in order for our message to be heard,” Purdy said.

Along with other universities joining the Get REAL movement, Purdy set a goal for her campaign.

“Our goal is to help influence our generation and the younger generation for a better future for all,” she said.

They plan to achieve a major portion of that goal by heading to local middle schools and high schools in order to share their message with the new generation of young adults.

“We’re looking to travel to middle schools and high schools across the Fredericton area, maybe even across the province and give presentations about homophobic language and bullying,” said Purdy.

But they will still focus on the university campus.

“On a campus level, Get REAL UNB will be focusing on the intersection of LGBT and sport, to show the potential of a positive coming out process in athletics and the importance of being yourself amongst your teammates and coaches.”

Even though Purdy said that Fredericton is, on the whole, an inclusive city when it comes to the LGBTQ community, there are always areas to work on.

“From personal experience, as a bisexual living in this city, Fredericton has been a very welcoming place in the LGBTQ community. But casual language is the area we’re looking to work on,” Purdy said.

“Terms like ‘that’s so gay,’ ‘faggot’ and ‘dyke’ are harmful and can influence a person.”

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